Building a Better Community Through Affordable Home Ownership

Blog

Habitat NOVA’s First Homes to Feature Solar Panels

We couldn’t be more excited to have our first solar install two Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia homes being built in our local area. On May 12, 2016, volunteers with GRID Alternatives installed sixteen solar panels – eight per house –on two energy-efficient Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia homes.  The two Clayborne Avenue homes are Habitat NOVA’s first homes to receive solar panels and GRID’s first solar installations in Virginia.

According to the Habitat for Humanity 2015 Shelter Report, low-income Americans face a disproportionate energy burden, spending between 17 percent and 50 percent of their incomes on energy while other households average just four percent.  The addition of solar power reduces the amount of energy homeowners will have to purchase from their utility, providing them with long-term savings.

Below are photos of the solar installation. For more photos, visit our Facebook page:

Follow Us On Facebook

Habitat For Humanity

Habitat For Humanity

Habitat For Humanity

Habitat For Humanity

Posted in Green Initiatives | Comments Off on Habitat NOVA’s First Homes to Feature Solar Panels

Two Lower-Income Northern Virginia Families Benefit from Solar Energy On Two New Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia Houses

Copy of Copy of horizontal.2c

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Robin Pence
703-521-9890 x 105
202-487-3547 (cell)

Two Lower-Income Northern Virginia Families Benefit from Solar Energy
On Two New Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia Houses

Note: Photos available below. 

ALEXANDRIA, VA, May 12, 2016 – Two local, lower-income families will now experience the benefits of solar energy. Today, a team of volunteers joined non-profit GRID Alternatives Mid Atlantic to install 16 solar panels – eight per house – on the roofs of two energy-efficient homes Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia (Habitat NOVA) is constructing in the Groveton Heights neighborhood of Fairfax County.

The two single-family, three bed, two bath homes will be the first of Habitat NOVA’s to feature solar panels, and the site of GRID’s first solar installations in Virginia. Each home will have eight solar panels producing 2.16 KW of power.  Habitat NOVA plans to install solar panels on five townhomes it will begin constructing in the City of Alexandria in the next year.

“Lower-income households pay a disproportionate amount of their income to utility and energy bills as compared to other homeowners across the country, spending between 17 and 50 percent of their incomes on energy while other households average just four percent,” said Jon Smoot, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia.  “Putting solar panels on the two houses Habitat NOVA is constructing is not only good for the environment, it’s good for the family budget. Long-term affordability means the families can be successful homeowners for years to come.”

Habitat NOVA volunteers, along with the future homeowners, are constructing the two homes to EarthCraft Gold standards, making them energy-efficient while maintaining long-term affordability. All EarthCraft certified homes demonstrate energy costs that are, on average, 30% below those of a typical new home, directly translating to monthly utility savings while lessening the impact on the environment. The homes have also been designed to meet Easy Living standards with a step-free entrance from the driveway or sidewalk into the central living area on the first floor. The first floor includes one bedroom and a full bath, making it a home equipped for aging in place.

The homeowners are required to put in hundreds of hours of “sweat equity” as part of Habitat’s unique building and mortgage-lending model that helps qualified, lower-income first time homebuyers purchase a home with just 1% down and a no-interest loan. With a conventional mortgage loan, they may otherwise not be able to afford the home.

“We are excited to partner with Habitat NOVA to put solar on these homes and save families money they can use for other basic expenses like food, healthcare and transportation,” said Nicole Steele, Executive Director of GRID Alternatives. “Together, our organizations are working to ensure that everyone has access to the benefits of clean energy.”

According to GRID Alternatives, 36 tons of greenhouse gas emissions should be off-set per home over the 25-year system lifetime – the equivalent to planting 850 trees.

Construction began on the two houses in December 2014 and are expected to be completed by early Fall 2016. The homes were designed by Sanchez Palmer Architects & Triad Engineering, pro bono.

Photos to follow. For original images and b-roll, contact Robin Pence at Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia.

Volunteers with GRID Alternatives install solar panels on two homes Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia is building in Southeast Fairfax County. The two houses will be Habitat NOVA’s first solar homes to receive solar panels and GRID’s first solar installations in Virginia. (Photo credit: Mark Finkenstaedt for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia).

Volunteers with GRID Alternatives install solar panels on two homes Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia is building in Southeast Fairfax County. The two houses will be Habitat NOVA’s first solar homes to receive solar panels and GRID’s first solar installations in Virginia. (Photo credit: Mark Finkenstaedt for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia).

Volunteers with GRID Alternatives install solar panels on two homes Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia is building in Southeast Fairfax County. The two houses will be Habitat NOVA’s first solar homes to receive solar panels and GRID’s first solar installations in Virginia. (Photo credit: Mark Finkenstaedt for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia).

Volunteers with GRID Alternatives install solar panels on two homes Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia is building in Southeast Fairfax County. The two houses will be Habitat NOVA’s first solar homes to receive solar panels and GRID’s first solar installations in Virginia. (Photo credit: Mark Finkenstaedt for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia).

Jon Smoot, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia, and Leidy Perez-Davis, Outreach Coordinator for Congressman Don Beyer of Virginia, test the voltage output on solar panels volunteers with GRID Alternatives installed today on two homes Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia is building in Southeast Fairfax County. The two houses will be Habitat NOVA’s first solar homes to receive solar panels and GRID’s first solar installations in Virginia. (Photo credit: Mark Finkenstaedt for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia).

Jon Smoot, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia, and Leidy Perez-Davis, Outreach Coordinator for Congressman Don Beyer of Virginia, test the voltage output on solar panels volunteers with GRID Alternatives installed today on two homes Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia is building in Southeast Fairfax County. The two houses will be Habitat NOVA’s first solar homes to receive solar panels and GRID’s first solar installations in Virginia. (Photo credit: Mark Finkenstaedt for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia).

Jon Smoot, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia, and Nicole Steele, Executive Director of GRID Alternatives, help raise solar panels to the roof of a new house Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia is building in Southeast Fairfax County. GRID Alternatives led the solar installation today – which marks the first Habitat NOVA homes to receive solar panels and GRID’s first solar installations in Virginia. (Photo credit: Mark Finkenstaedt for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia).

Jon Smoot, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia, and Nicole Steele, Executive Director of GRID Alternatives, help raise solar panels to the roof of a new house Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia is building in Southeast Fairfax County. GRID Alternatives led the solar installation today – which marks the first Habitat NOVA homes to receive solar panels and GRID’s first solar installations in Virginia. (Photo credit: Mark Finkenstaedt for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia).

About Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia
Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia’s (Habitat NOVA) unique model of affordable housing focuses on homeownership. Habitat NOVA homeowners secure a no-interest mortgage, while the non-profit secures corporate sponsorship, in-kind donations and volunteer labor to make the home affordable. Habitat NOVA was founded in 1990, and to date has built or rehabilitated 92 homes and repaired the exteriors of 29 homes, benefiting more than 400 people. As a local, self-sustaining affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, Habitat NOVA serves the counties of Fairfax and Arlington and the cities of Falls Church, Fairfax and Alexandria. Learn more at www.habitatnova.org.

About GRID Alternatives
GRID Alternatives is America’s largest nonprofit solar installer bringing clean energy technology and job training to low-income families and underserved communities through a network of community partners, volunteers, and philanthropic supporters. GRID has installed 6,700 rooftop solar systems with a combined installed capacity of 23MW, saving $181 million in lifetime electricity costs, preventing 444,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and providing over 26,000 people with solar training. GRID has eleven regional offices and affiliates serving California, Colorado, the Mid-Atlantic, the New York tri-state area, Tribal communities nationwide, and Nicaragua. For more information, visit www.gridalternatives.org.

Posted in Press Releases | Comments Off on Two Lower-Income Northern Virginia Families Benefit from Solar Energy On Two New Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia Houses

Meet Some of Habitat NOVA’s Women Build Participants

Women Build Week was a big success for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia. We had more than 50 local women from all over Northern Virginia come to the build site in the Groveton Heights Neighborhood of Fairfax County to help us with caulking, building walls and installing the last of the drywall.  With the help of our Women Build participants, we raised more than $10,000 to support Habitat NOVA’s efforts to provide local, lower-income families with a “hand up” to affordable home ownership.  Here is a little bit about some of our talented participants!

Emily

EmilyQ: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I am an Office Engineer with Clark Construction, working in our Estimating Department. I’ve recently joined YCF, Young Constructor’s Forum, and am part of the Community Service Committee. Right now we are working on fundraising to prep for some events at the end of the year. I’ve also been volunteering with Girls on the Run and hope to become more involved with this organization too.

Q: What made you sign up for Women Build?
A: I’ve been on the Habitat email list for a long time now, but due to my job responsibilities, can never make it to one of the build days during the week. When I saw that this had a weekend opportunity, and on top of that, it was specifically a Women Build Week, I was sold!

Q: What did you enjoy most about Women Build Week?
A: I work in the managerial side of construction, but do not often have the chance to go out and work with my hands, which is actually my favorite part. Having the opportunity to do actual field work was amazing, but then knowing who it was going to benefit and being fortunate to work alongside the future home owners, made for a purposeful and compelling experience.

 

Maureen

Maureen

(Top row, left)

Q: Tell us a little about yourself
A: I work at the U.S. Marshals Service as a program analyst.  I volunteer at my church and various projects through Volunteer Fairfax. 

Q: What made you sign up for Women Build?
A: I’ve participated on about a half dozen Habitat projects over the years and signed up for my first Women Build two years ago.  I wasn’t able to participate last year so I’m really glad to be back this year. It was a lot of fun. The building professionals and other volunteers always have a great attitude and helpful spirit. 

Q: What do you feel you got out of this experience with Habitat NOVA?
A: I really like working with the gentlemen who had a lot of building experience and showed is how to cut and install drywall. They were very patient and kind. I worked in this house when it was just a foundation and to see it almost built is really wonderful!  I enjoyed working alongside the new home owners too. 

 

Nicole

NicoleQ: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I am a junior program analyst working under the Telecommunications Integration & Science Division at ECS Federal.

Q: What made you sign up for Women Build?
A: I have been wanting to do some volunteer work and I love building projects!

Q:What do you feel you got out of this experience with Habitat NOVA?
A: I feel that volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in NOVA makes you feel really good as a human being. Humanity is supposed to help one another and I love that I could do a small part for these families. I hope to be able to help more in the near future because it is a great experience and you meet super awesome people in the process!

 

Sami

Sami

Q: Tell us a little about yourself
A: I am an Engineer at Clark Construction currently working in the estimating department. I recently moved to NOVA and am loving the DC area. I have been volunteering with Habitat in various capacities for 9 years, including 5 trips and a summer as an intern at my local (Cabarrus County, NC) affiliate. Because of my construction background, most of the volunteering I do is with Habitat but I have also participated in Junior Achievement programs and Polar Plunge for Special Olympics. Outside of building I love watching sports and exploring local breweries! 

Q: What made you sign up for Women Build?
A: I take great pride in being a woman in a male dominated field and I love that Habitat has a week specifically to encourage women to get out into the construction arena. Being new to the area I figured this would be a great way to get to know the NOVA Habitat Affiliate.

Q: What did you enjoy most about Women Build Week?
A: Seeing women empowered to learn new skills was my favorite part of Women Build Week. By the end of the day, everyone had learned something new. The vibe was great and everyone had a good attitude which made for a very fun build.

 

“Shepi”

Shepi

“Shepi” (center) takes a break with fellow volunteer Mai (left) and Habitat NOVA Construction and Program manager Kelly (right).Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I manage the investments of the Inter-American Development Bank’s retirement plans, and love to volunteer with Habitat. My husband and I also volunteer at Restore (in Alexandria). I find that serving with Habitat brings so much more to me than I give, through friendships, faith and joy in serving God, and fun.

Q: What made you sign up for Women Build?
A: It’s an opportunity to work with other women on a local Habitat project, and to honor Rosalyn Carter, who helped initiate the Women Build program.

Q: What do you feel you got out of this experience with Habitat NOVA?
A: I really enjoyed the day – the 20+ women who spent a day off from work learning to caulk, lay drywall, hang shingles, and carry supplies – and being taught by a mostly-women led group of staff and “sandlot” volunteers retired from a variety of professions.

 

Zoe

ZoeQ: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I am a Project Manager on an ECS contract with the Navy.

Q: What made you sign up for Women Build?
A: This is my first volunteer event with Habitat for Humanity and I am very excited! I’ve been looking for opportunities to give back to the local community and when this opportunity came up through my company, I was happy to volunteer.

 

Mai

Mai

Mai (left) and Natalie show off their use of power tools to get their task done.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I work in IT as a government defense contractor. I volunteer regularly (twice a month) with Doorways for Women and Families, based in Arlington County. I also try to volunteer with other organizations as needed when opportunities arise. (For example, Potomac River cleanup, etc.) I have three rescue dogs and love traveling, knitting, and reading in my free time.

Q: What made you sign up for Women Build?
A: I’ve been wanting to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity for a while but it was tough to find a good day since it requires taking off from work. I love the idea of building a home for someone who might not otherwise be able to afford it. I’m happy to volunteer my time to better the community

Q: What do you hope to get out of this experience?
A: I hope to meet some new people and build some new skills related to construction and home improvement.

 

Sandra

(Top row, second from left)

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I am a registrar for training. I love wood carving, home improvement projects and being outdoors.

Q: What made you sign up for Women Build?
A: I signed up because I like to help people and I would like to learn how to do build things.

Q: What do you feel you got out of this experience with Habitat NOVA?
A: This was my first time participating with Habitat for Humanity, and I learned so much.  It was so much fun working with everyone and I had a really great time.  It was a very rewarding experience and I will definitely do this again.  Thank you so much!

Posted in Women Build | Comments Off on Meet Some of Habitat NOVA’s Women Build Participants

WJLA-TV Live at the Clayborne Avenue site for Women Build Week

On Friday, May 6 WJLA-TV/NewsChannel 8 provided live coverage from the Clayborne Avenue build site of Habitat NOVA’s participation in National Women Build Week. Twenty-five local women from all over Northern Virginia came out to work on the two homes. Click here to check out the Habitat NOVA feature.

Posted in In The News, Women Build | Comments Off on WJLA-TV Live at the Clayborne Avenue site for Women Build Week

Habitat NOVA Featured in the Washington Post

Habitat NOVA’s construction and program manager, Kelly, talked to the Washington Post about the importance of volunteers during National Women Build Week and all year long. Click here to learn more about Kelly, and how volunteers in Northern Virginia are participating in National Women Build Week.

Posted in In The News, Women Build | Comments Off on Habitat NOVA Featured in the Washington Post

Local Women Join Thousands in 9th Annual National Women Build Event

April 30 – May 8 marks the 9th annual Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build Week. National Women Build Week is a nationwide initiative of Habitat’s Women Build program developed in partnership with Lowe’s. Women Build is about empowering women and providing them opportunities to learn and use construction skills while inspiring them to advocate for decent and affordable homeownership in their communities.

More than 17,000 women across the U.S. will volunteer at construction sites in 300 communities to build and repair 650 homes. Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia (Habitat NOVA) will have three build days: Wednesday, May 4; Friday, May 6 (sold out); and Saturday, May 7. There are slots for a total of 60 participants to work on our two new homes in Alexandria and help us raise $15,000 to support our efforts to provide local, lower-income families with a “hand up” to affordable homeownership.

We are anticipating a great group of women on site. If you would like to participate, reserve your spot now with a $250 donation. (Men are welcome too!) All participants must be 16 and older. If you are interested in sponsoring or serving lunch for the participants, contact Shiree Skinner, Director of Resource Development at sskinner@habitatnova.org.

Click here to register now.

Posted in Women Build | Comments Off on Local Women Join Thousands in 9th Annual National Women Build Event

Media Advisory – Women Build Week

MEDIA ADVISORY

Media Contact:
Robin Pence
Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia
703-521-9890 x103
rpence@habitatnova.org                                                               

Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia and Lowe’s volunteers help families build strength and stability in celebration of Habitat’s National Women Build Week.

Build to take place on May 4, 6 and 7 in Alexandria.

ALEXANDRIA, VA, April 28, 2016 —   More than 50 volunteers from Northern Virginia will join thousands of women nationwide to help local families build or repair a decent and affordable place they can call home. They will be joined by Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers to work on two houses Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia is building for two local families in Alexandria.

The three build days in Alexandria will be Wednesday May 4, Friday May 6 and Saturday May 7.  They are part of Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build Week, which takes place April 30-May 8. The project also supports “Home for the Holidays,” a nationwide initiative launched by Lowe’s and Habitat for Humanity to work alongside 1,000 families to help them build or repair their homes by December.

Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build Week is a weeklong, nationwide event created by its Women Build program that invites women to devote at least one day to help families build strength, stability and independence through housing. Women Build is about empowering women and providing them opportunities to learn and use construction skills while inspiring them to advocate for decent and affordable homeownership in their communities. The week is meant to spotlight the homeownership challenges faced by women. Lowe’s donated $2 million to Habitat’s 2016 National Women Build Week and will provide the support of Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers. The home improvement chain will also conduct how-to clinics at stores to teach volunteers construction skills.

WHAT: Habitat NOVA and Lowe’s Heroes are celebrating National Women Build Week by engaging women from across Northern Virginia to volunteer their time to work on the construction of two new houses in Alexandria.  The homes will be constructed to EarthCraft Gold standards and will be Habitat NOVA’s first homes to feature solar panels. EarthCraft is a green building certification program which measures the energy efficiency of the home.

PHOTO OPP: Women volunteers from across Northern Virginia will work side-by-side with the homeowners who are required to put in “sweat equity” to help build their homes. The volunteers include women who work at large and small businesses in Northern Virginia, retirees and other members of the community.

WHEN: Wednesday May 4, Friday May 6, Saturday May 7 from 8:15 to 3:30

WHERE: 3407 and 3409 Clayborne Avenue, Alexandria in the Groveton Heights neighborhood of Fairfax County.

WHO: Habitat of Northern Virginia’s construction team – led by a leadership team of women –will work with the new homeowners, veteran “Sandlot Crew” volunteers, and Women Build volunteers on the two new homes.

More than 300 Habitat for Humanity organizations across the country are hosting Women Build projects this year.

About Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia
Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia’s (Habitat NOVA) unique model of affordable housing focuses on homeownership. Habitat NOVA homeowners secure a no-interest mortgage, while the non-profit secures corporate sponsorship, in-kind donations and volunteer labor to make the home affordable. Habitat NOVA was founded in 1990, and to date has built or rehabilitated 92 homes and repaired the exteriors of 29 homes, benefiting more than 400 people. As a local, self-sustaining affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, Habitat NOVA serves the counties of Fairfax and Arlington and the cities of Falls Church, Fairfax and Alexandria. Learn more at www.habitatnova.org.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity has grown from a grassroots effort that began on a community farm in southern Georgia in 1976 to a global nonprofit housing organization in nearly 1,400 communities across the U.S. and in over 70 countries. People partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering, or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

About Lowe’s in the Community
Lowe’s, a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company, has a 50-year legacy of supporting the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. Since 2007, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together have contributed more than $225 million to these efforts, and for more than two decades Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers have donated their time to make our communities better places to live. To learn more, visit Lowes.com/SocialResponsibility and LowesInTheCommunity.tumblr.com.

# # #

Posted in Press Releases, Women Build | Comments Off on Media Advisory – Women Build Week

Denim Insulation at Clayborne Avenue

At Habitat NOVA, Earth Day is year round as we continue building homes that include earth-friendly, energy saving features.

Our latest innovation?  Recycled denim blue jeans that are providing insulation for two new Habitat homes in Northern Virginia.

Recycled denim from blue jeans will help keep these homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer in the form of denim insulation generously donated to Habitat NOVA from Cotton, Inc.  The insulation is being used in the two homes currently under construction on Clayborne Avenue in Fairfax County.

Cotton, Inc.’s Blue Jean Go Green program collects donated denim and upcycles it into UltraTouchTM Denim Insulation made from 80% post-consumer recycled denim. UltraTouch is made from high-quality natural fibers that are extremely effective in sound absorption and thermal performance. Not only is the insulation environmentally friendly, but it is just as effective as traditional fiberglass insulation and much easier to install with no fiberglass itch.

The two homes on Clayborne Avenue will be constructed to EarthCraft Gold standards. EarthCraft is a green building certification program which measures the energy efficiency of the home. EarthCraft guidelines address elements such as water conservation, energy-efficient appliances, air quality, etc. The energy efficiency of the homes will lower the homeowner’s energy costs, helping to maintain the affordability and provide the residents with a healthy living environment.

The homes will also include solar panels. Solar panels are another way to reduce utility bills and create a healthy environment for the families and the community.

Want an easy way to support environmentally friendly building? Donate your denim! Click here for your local drop-off location.

Posted in Green Initiatives | Comments Off on Denim Insulation at Clayborne Avenue

Habitat Herald – Mar./Apr. 2016

Herald Herald Masthead 25 yearsClick here to read Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia’s March/April 2016 newsletter. To subscribe, click here and fill out the form.

Posted in Newsletters | Comments Off on Habitat Herald – Mar./Apr. 2016

Habitat Herald – Jan./Feb. 2016

Herald Herald Masthead 25 years
Click here to read Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia’s January/February 2016 newsletter. To subscribe, click here and write “Newsletter” in the email subject field.

Posted in News, Newsletters | Comments Off on Habitat Herald – Jan./Feb. 2016